Sunday, March 1, 2015

Week 15: Falling out of love with medicine.

I've always joked that I am in a long term relationship with med school. With everything going on in my life...any potential real boyfriend would leave me due to lack of attention. So my guy med-school and I are having a bit of a rough patch. We've had rough patches before but this one seems to be going on a while.

View from the ward
I haven't fallen out of love with medicine itself, just the process I'm stuck in right now. I spend my early mornings before work studying, spend my evening studying, spend my Saturday and Sunday mornings studying....all for this dang USMLE. At work, I feel rather useless. We are so many "extras" and new residents that I don't actually get to do anything beyond questioning patients and doing an ultrasound. I fell my time is being wasted. I could be using the time to study (instead of getting up at 5) or use it painting, traveling, being crafty, baking, etc. But I'm stuck in the hospital trying to find something to do! Luckily, some of the consultants have gotten a hint that I am rather underwhelmed and will find new things for me to do. Even if it is setting up appointments or entering research data. At least then I'm not sitting around trying to look like I'm doing something when I'd rather be studying.

Since I had so much to do...didn't waste any nutella.

Its so frustrating because I hate sitting around! So the whole thing just seems tedious and annoying. I question why anyone willingly dedicates so much time and effort into this job when all you hear from most colleges is that if they could do it over....they wouldn't. How encouraging. Why sign up for a life of night shifts, on calls, weekend work, high stress level and 6 years of basic education before entering years on end of further training where you are used like an animal? You can't tell me its because of the money. There are easier, funner and quicker ways to make the same amount of money in this world. So in the core, it must be a love for the field. And that is the case for me. Just hard to see that sometimes with so many distraction around.

24 hours....Ready to get you!
Luckily, I decided to be on call on Wednesday after the doctor on call asked if I would join him. He is also one of those colleagues that suggest not doing medicine but at the same time, he is one of the best in the department (IMO). His patients love him, he works in favor of the patient, he keeps it real and is a pretty cool dude. Since this was my first on call during the week, it didn't seem as long as the ones where you come Saturday at 7AM and leave Sunday at 7AM and were you are the only two urologist in the house. On Wednesday, it was a normal work day until about 4:30PM and then it was the two of us. I had told him about how I feel about my current situation and all the fabulous things I see myself doing and he took that and told me I'd be doing most of the work for this on call.

This meant, I interviewed the patients primarily and did the diagnostic tests. There was even a pregnant woman with urinary problems and I had to do an ultrasound and obviously looked at the bladder so that I could also see the little foreign object sucking on its thumb! So cute! The doctor just rolled his eyes and said, "Women." I couldn't help myself.

Around midnight, we were able to go to bed. Not for long though. I was paged at 3:15AM and told a patient was coming in who thought he might have testicular torsion! I hopped out of bed and met the doctor and the patient in the out patient department. The patient's history and presentation were very classic for testicular torsion. We called the consultant to come in for the operation. I scrubbed in and assisted in alleviating the torsion on the one side. As a standard practice, the other side needs to be fixated as well. I got to do that and the consultant assisted! That meant I did the cut, the fixations and the sutures!! It was very exciting for me! Finally, hands on!

After finishing up a few things and letting the colleagues know what happened through the night, I went home around 7:30AM. I didn't sleep though, I had a meeting with my doctor thesis professor, had to take care of paperwork and had a meeting with the pediatric surgeons. Hopefully I'll be able to share some information from this meeting with you soon.

That on-call was what I needed to fall a bit in love with medicine again.

I know that once these exams are done and I can use the little free time I do have for other things, I will be more enthusiastic. Residency will be no walk in the park either but at least I'll be working.

I also participated in a pretty fun thing this past week. A guy I went to High School with, Zac Ziebarth, started an organization called SmartRoots Global. Their mission:

To create a generation of innovative problems and critical thinkers who are equipped to solve the biggest challenges in their community and world

Well Howdy Texas!
He has been working with students in Texas on the human systems and the health care system. He asked me if I'd be interested in skyping with some of the classes and talk about my medical journey and medical school in general. This came directly in the time that I was most demotivated on that subjected. But since I know its not my true feeling of the situation as a whole, I had a great time with the kids! They asked questions like, "What was your hardest operation?" "Have you seen a heart operation?" "What materials do you use in the hospital?". It was great to hear that about 10 students in each class are thinking about going into the medical field. Sure, they might just be 7th graders, but I knew what I wanted to be when I was in 7th grade and I'm in the midst of completing the first major part of that.

And as a last note, another yummy shake recipe:
-1 avocado
-1 banana
-2 fresh squeezed oranges
-1 cup coconut milk
-half a squeezed lemon or lime
-pinch of salt
Mix it up and enjoy the tropical breakfast smoothie!

Stay healthy!


Screen grab from the interview, click the link below to see the whole thing!

P.S. Found this (German) interview from the Urology Congress I went to in Heidelberg :)